Ursinus Magazine

AIDAN NADELL '25

Aidan Nadell ’25

Aidan Nadell ’25 concludes each email he writes with a simple reminder: “Stay smiling.” Chances are you’ve seen him around campus without even knowing it. He’s often spreading Ursinus pride everywhere he goes as the Bear mascot. Get to know Aidan.
 

Ursinus Magazine: Thanks to the encouragement of Ursinus President Robyn Hannigan, Aidan honed his craft as a college mascot at Keystone Mascots Camp last summer, where he learned choreography, skits, and technical skills.

Aidan Nadell: It culminated in a mascot birthday party at a minor league baseball game. I had never stood on a dugout before! The biggest takeaway, though, was that it is important to take [being a mascot] seriously. You have to treat it as a serious job because you’re taking care of the costume and the persona. I’m representing the college when I’m in the suit, so if I take it seriously, then others will, too.

UM: He first put on the Bear suit at homecoming as a first-year student and he has embraced the role ever since.

Aidan: I’m really grateful to Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) because being involved in that organization gave me a chance to become the mascot. I’m a pretty high-energy person. I have a fair amount of experience working with kids. And I love just making people smile and making them happy. It’s my favorite job that I’ve ever had.

 UM: Aidan is a huge Philadelphia 76ers fan, so it should come as no surprise who he lists as his favorite mascot.

Aidan: I’m in awe of Franklin the Dog. He enters games rappelling from the ceiling. I can only imagine that. I don’t have the skills to make behind-the-back half-court shots, but I’m working on it!

UM: “Stay Smiling” isn’t just a mantra, it’s Aidan’s way of giving back to the community. He is the founder of Spread Smiles Movement, which raises money for children’s charities.

Aidan: It started during the COVID pandemic because there was rampant negativity in the air. I was working at a preschool that was in the process of building a new playground when the school closed for COVID. I wanted to help fundraise for the playground, so I made bracelets, shirts, and other “smiling” products. All of the proceeds went to the playground, and then I began supporting other organizations as well. I wanted to help make a difference.

UM: Aidan is co-president of Hillel, philanthropy chair for his Greek organization (Phi Kappa Sigma), a gold ambassador (tour guide), and a first-year student advisor.

Aidan: I want to take my Ursinus experience and use it to better the world. I’ll always remember when I first toured campus. People were kind to me. I’ve had some tough times here, but throughout my experience, my professors have had my back. If I was at another place, I might have dropped out. Ursinus has allowed me to be a more independent, confident version of myself.

UM: He’s writing a book to help high school students navigate their college experience.

Aidan: It’s called, Dear Anxious Student: How to Survive the College Transition. College is only four years. What’s going to happen afterward? I was putting so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out before I graduate. But you can’t overwhelm yourself with the burden of knowing exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life. I have about 65 pages written—it’s a work in progress. I hope to find some meaning in helping other students.

UM: His self-initiated major is “Behavioral Economics,” which combines business and psychology, but he’s not limiting his own career aspirations.

Aidan: My long-term goal would be president of Ursinus College. Why not shoot for the moon? Worst comes to worst, I’ll end up among the stars.

Aidan Nadell '25 Bear Mascot 2023

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